3 Model-Approved Facial Exercises for Glowing Skin

Updated 09/15/17

The unofficial law of working out states that when you exercise consistently and correctly, you see results in the form of a leaner, tighter, stronger body. Why else would we shell out money for expensive gym memberships or take crazy classes that leave us in a puddle of sweat and tears? Science (and Instagram’s #beforeafter hashtag) has proven that exercise can transform our bodies, so what if we told you it could also change your skin?

The idea of facial exercise is simple: Just like you would work out your thighs to make them firmer, facial exercise is founded on the belief that working out your face muscles will tone, lift, and boost volume. We spoke with facial exercise expert and Skin Fitness founder Julie Lindh about exactly how it works and more importantly, how to do it ourselves. (Warning: Do not attempt in public spaces if you’d still like to have friends.) Keep scrolling to learn all about facial workouts, and the three model-approved exercises Lindh shares with all her clients!

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How It Works

“Facial exercise works on your facial muscles to increase their strength,” Lindh explains. “While you do them, you’re actually helping to re-contour your face in a way.” The older we get, the more collagen we lose, which results in sagging, drooping, and wrinkles. Lindh says that building up your face muscles will plump up spots that would normally see a reduction in collagen (namely, your cheek area).

“Muscle is muscle,” Lindh says. “Facial muscles react the same way as your arms and legs do when you go to the gym to work out. The movement helps increase heat and microcirculation in those areas—the stronger the muscles beneath the skin, the tighter it looks on the surface.”

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The Benefits

Lindh says there are a number of benefits to daily facial exercise, the main one being tighter, fuller, plumper skin. “When you do facial exercises, you’re contouring your face and shaping it up,” she says. “You’ll look more lifted! Doing them consistently will also increase blood circulation, and therefore increase your glow.” Other benefits of facial exercise include released tension, line reduction, and skin rejuvenation.

The exercises Lindh shared with us target a section of the face that is often the first to show signs of aging: your cheekbones. She swears this natural, filler-free technique will plump up volume loss and make your cheekbones appear fuller. She recommends doing these three exercises all in a row every day. You’ll start seeing results in as little as three days, but three weeks will yield noticeable results. “I tell my model clients to do these exercises before they go on the runway,” Lindh says. “It wakes your skin up instantly!”

Part One
1. Suck in your cheeks like a fish, with your lips pursed.
2. With your lips still pursed, smile as hard as you can. (Lindh says to try and relax every other part of your face, like your eyes, while doing this.)
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Relax.
5. Repeat three times.

Part One
1. Suck in your cheeks like a fish, with your lips pursed.
2. With your lips still pursed, smile as hard as you can. (Lindh says to try and relax every other part of your face, like your eyes, while doing this.)
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Relax.
5. Repeat three times.

Part One
1. Pout your lips like you’re about to kiss someone.
2. Smile as hard as you can with your lips still pursed. (Make sure to keep your eyes relaxed.)
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Relax.
5. Repeat three times.

Part One
1. Pout your lips like you’re about to kiss someone.
2. Smile as hard as you can with your lips still pursed. (Make sure to keep your eyes relaxed.)
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Relax.
5. Repeat three times.

Part One
1. Make an “O” with your lips, like you’re going to whistle.
2. Smile as hard as you can, with your lips still forward in the “O” shape.
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Relax.
5. Repeat three times.

Part One
1. Make an “O” with your lips, like you’re going to whistle.
2. Smile as hard as you can, with your lips still forward in the “O” shape.
3. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Relax.
5. Repeat three times.

Part Two
1. Repeat steps one and two from Part One.
2. Pump your cheek muscles up and down 12 times with your lips still in an “O” shape.
3. Relax.

Lindh says that doing these exercises will make your face feel tired at first, but that’s normal. “It’s like going to the gym—you feel a little sore, the second day, you do it again and have more muscle memory, and the third day, it feels easier,” she says. “It’ll feel like you’ve been smiling all day.”

And as for anyone who says that repeated stretching can actually cause more lines and wrinkles, Lindh argues that you aren’t holding these positions long enough to cause more wrinkles than you’d get from, say, drinking from a straw. “That’s why you need to focus on relaxing your eyes,” she says. “Relax everywhere else in your face, and just focus on the muscles on your cheeks. It might take a few days, but you’ll notice which muscle you’re supposed to be working.”

If you loved facial exercises, try face yoga next.

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